March 8, 2021
Today is the first day of the Disability Filibuster, a Canada-wide, round the clock protest against Bill C-7 by disabled people.
Launching at 7:00 pm Eastern Time (8 PM Atlantic) today [March 8th] the Disability Filibuster kicks off with an International Women’s Day event and a conversation among disabled women of different generations.
“The Liberals decided not to appeal a lower Quebec court decision and have used that as an excuse to rewrite Canadian law and put disabled people’s lives at risk and disabled women in particular. ” commented Filibuster creator Catherine Frazee.
One third of Canadian disabled women live below the poverty line and a disturbingly high number of disabled women experience neglect, financial exploitation, sexual, physical abuse and psychological abuse, often at hands of their own family members or caregivers.
Frazee added, “The Filibuster is activism for our era. We are isolated and separated but we are also united and together.”
Joined by Sarah Jama, lead organizer with Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO), the two will discuss Bill C-7 in the way it needs to be and has not been anywhere else – within the context of Canadian history past and present.
Jama said, “It’s a pandemic which means busloads of disabled people arriving in Ottawa to block the passage of this bill are not an option. But sitting on the sidelines while the federal government votes on a bill that so directly and dangerously impacts the lives of disabled people is also not an option.”
Running 24 hours a day the Disability Filibuster will be a teach-in, a knit-in, an arts space and much more.
The Disability Filibuster is first and foremost a protest but it is also a gathering space for disabled people opposed to Bill C-7, many of whom are already feeling the negative consequences of this bill and the discussions around it.
Bill C-7 expands MAiD (Medical assistance in dying) beyond those who are actually dying and makes death a ‘treatment option’ for a large segment of disabled people in Canada.
If the amendments proposed by the Canadian Senate and brought back by the Liberals are included then MAiD will be available to people whose sole qualifying criteria is having a mental-health related disability.
The passing of Bill C-7 into law will result in Canada having the most liberal and open MAiD in the entire world.
Gabrielle Peters of Dignity Denied and one of the Filibuster’s organizers said, “It puts disabled people in the crosshairs and we live in a society that comes pre-loaded with structural ableism. We lack the supports that make it possible for us to live in dignity so the option of a red carpet path to death is reasonably read as enticement. It’s a form of soft power that can easily veer into outright coercion. Even without the stick, dangling the only carrot in sight above state administered death is quite a statement for the Canadian state to make.”
To register and receive a zoom link: https://t.co/YbTt2TzWw7